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The Copper Range Consolidated Fatalities

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  • William Gaggini (1879 - 1927)
  • Source:
    Artturi Mulari (1909 - 1927)
    Suomussalmi Communion Book 1911-1920 (AP_II I Aa:19) Sivu 479 Kerälänkylä, tilattomat Mulari ; SSHY / Ironwood Daily Globe 08 Aug 1927, Mon · Page 4 KILLED IN SHAFT FALL Trimountain- Arthur Mular...
  • Christopher Otho Hawkins (1879 - 1906)
    Houghton County Mine Inspector's Report ACCIDENT NO. 31. — July 26th,1906, Christopher Hawkins. This accident occurred at the third level south, “D” shaft, Champion Mine, causing the death of Christop...
  • Cristoforo Nutini (1877 - 1905)
    ACCIDENT NO. 12 — January 4th, 1905.- Occurred at the 6th level south of No. 1 shaft, Trimountain Mine. Christ Nutene and Albans Sante, Italian trammers. Nutene went up in the stope to throw down some ...
  • Lambert Symons (1881 - 1905)
    The Daily Mining Journal August 7. 1905 Page 3 Atlantic Miner Killed. Lambert Symons, employed in B shaft of the Atlantic, received injuries at an early hour Saturday morning which resulted in his de...

History of the Copper Range Consolidated Company-

The Copper Range Company (1899-1977) operated copper mines in Houghton County's South Range and in Ontonagon County. The second largest mining company in the Copper Country (after Calumet & Hecla), the Copper Range Company was the only one to survive the 1960s. In addition to mining, it owned and operated the Copper Range Railroad (1899-1973) and the Copper Range Motor Bus Company (1925-1955).

Formation of Copper Range Company and Copper Range Consolidated Company, 1899-1905
The Copper Range Company was organized under the leadership of William A. Paine in January 1899. Paine was the co-founder and longtime head of the Boston based brokerage firm Paine, Webber & Company. When it was initially formed, the Copper Range Company's two operations were the Copper Range Railroad Company and the Champion Copper Company. The Champion Copper Company was founded in 1899 as a jointly owned venture by the Copper Range Company and the St. Mary's Canal Mineral Land Company. Under the leadership of General Manager L. L. Hubbard, the Champion Mine was opened in the new town of Painesdale. A stamp mill was soon constructed on Lake Superior in the town of Freda. In December 1901, unable to increase its capital stock under Michigan law, Paine founded the Copper Range Consolidated Company under New Jersey law for the purpose of consolidating the Baltic, Champion, and Trimountain mines. However, the Trimountain Mining Company refused to participate and only the Baltic Mining Company was initially acquired.
The Baltic Mining Company had been formed by John Stanton of New York in 1897. By this point, Stanton had been a major figure in the Copper Country for decades, primarily through his role as Secretary-Treasurer of the Atlantic Mining Company (located adjacent to the new Baltic property). His son, Frank McMillan Stanton, had already been the Atlantic Mining Company's agent for nearly ten years when he oversaw the opening of the Baltic Mine. After using the Atlantic Mill for its first few years, the Baltic Mining Company joined with the Atlantic Mining Company in 1901 to construct the Redridge Dam to provide sufficient power for the Atlantic Mill and the new Baltic Mill.
In 1903, faced with serious financial difficulties, the Trimountain Mining Company accepted the Copper Range Consolidated Company's 1901 acquisition proposal. That same year saw the formation of the Michigan Smelting Company. (The Michigan Smelting Company was formed in 1903 by the Copper Range Consolidated Company, St. Mary's Mineral Land Company, Mohawk Mining Company, Wolverine Copper Mining Company, and Atlantic Mining Company.) Construction of the Michigan Smelter began in 1903 and operations commenced the following year. The first Superintendent of the Michigan Smelting Company was Frederick I. Cairns (1865-1944), who served until 1928. His replacement, and last Superintendent, was George P. Schubert (1883-1964), who resigned in 1948. During its entire lifetime, the Chief Clerk at the Michigan Smelter was William H. Rowe (1867-1959).
In 1932, the Copper Range Company bought out the Mohawk Mining Company's interest in the Michigan Smelting Company to gain full control of the Michigan Smelter. As a result, the company became the Copper Range Company. A new Michigan Smelting Company was also formed but only to enable the issuance of warehouse receipts for copper held on behalf of other mining companies. The Copper Range Company ended smelting operations in 1945. The Lake Copper Refining Company briefly operated the smelter under lease, before it was permanently closed in 1947.
The Trimountain Mining Company had been founded in 1899 as part of the "Fay Group" of mines, which were controlled by Harry F. Fay of Boston and operated by Superintendent James Chynoweth. Following the opening of the mine, the Trimountain Mill was built in 1900 in the newly founded town of Beacon Hill. In addition to Trimountain Mine, the company began development on the Globe Mine in 1901. From the beginning of mining operations, but especially after F. W. Denton replaced L. L. Hubbard as General Manager in 1905, the boundary between the various Copper Range Consolidated Company subsidiaries was porous. Company officers freely used titles and stationary from subsidiaries. This was partly due to the increasing centralization of company operations. The new central Purchasing Department led the way in 1904. Denton's promotion from Baltic Superintendent to Baltic Agent (replacing Stanton) in 1906 unified the management of all three mines. A central hospital was built at Trimountain that same year.
In 1911, the Copper Range Consolidated Company acquired the Atlantic Mining Company. As the Copper Country's second largest mining company, the Copper Range Consolidated Company was a major focus of the 1913-1914 Copper Miners Strike. Along with the other mining companies, Copper Range closed ranks behind the leadership of the Calumet & Hecla Mining Company in the campaign against the Western Federation of Miners. Painesdale itself was the scene of the deeply controversial Seeberville and Jane-Dally shootings. Despite a short shutdown and a long period of low production, the Copper Range Consolidated Company successfully outlasted the strikers. After the State of Michigan changed its laws to allow for larger corporate capitalization, the Copper Range Consolidated Company became unnecessary. In 1915, the Copper Range Company's capital stock was increased and it merged with its parent company.
In 1917, the Baltic Mining Company was declared dissolved (due to lawsuits, this was not official until 1922) and became the Baltic Branch of the Copper Range Company. In the same year, General Manager F. W. Denton moved to the Boston Office to become Managing Director. He was replaced by Assistant General Manager William H. Schacht.
The Trimountain Mining Company was dissolved in 1923 and became the Trimountain Branch of the Copper Range Company. F. W. Denton resigned all his positions in the Copper Range Company the same year. Denton's departure was the most prominent sign of a changing of the guard at the Copper Range Company. President William A. Paine, who had been closely involved in operations, was increasingly delegating responsibilities to his son, Secretary-Treasurer F. W. Paine. For the next seventeen years, Schacht and F. W. Paine would lead the Copper Range Company.
The Copper Range Motor Bus Company was founded in 1925, In May 1929, the Copper Range Company acquired the property of the Calumet & Hecla controlled White Pine Copper Company (founded 1909) at an auction. Later that year, William A. Paine died, shortly before the stock market crashed.
F. W. Paine served briefly as President, before turning over the position to Schacht, who still remained in Painesdale as General Manager. During the Great Depression, the Copper Range Company acquired the property of various defunct mining companies, such as the Mohawk Mining Company and the Victoria Copper Mining Company. It also gained a controlling interest in C. G. Hussey & Company in 1931. Another important acquisition, the St. Mary's Mineral Land Company, allowed the Copper Range Company to gain full control of the Champion Copper Company. Although the latter company was continued on paper until 1977, all of its assets were transferred to the Copper Range Company at the end of 1931. Despite its acquisitions, the Copper Range Company faced serious financial difficulties during the Depression. The collapse of copper prices forced the closure of the Trimountain Mine in May 1930 and the Baltic Mine in December 1931. This left only the Champion Mine as a major producer. Like all Copper Country mining companies, the Copper Range Company had always mined native copper deposits. However, while the White Pine property was rich in copper, it was in the form of copper sulfide. In 1938, the Copper Range Company began an intensive research effort to develop milling methods suitable for copper sulfide ore. It would be more than ten years before the milling problems were overcome. In 1940, F. W. Paine was killed in a Boston subway accident. His successor as Treasurer was his brother-in-law Morris F. LaCroix. LaCroix then succeeded Schacht as President, when the latter died in 1944.
By 1950, the Copper Range Company was confident that the technical barrier to developing the White Pine Mine had been solved. They organized a new White Pine Copper Company in November 1950 as a wholly owned subsidiary.
In 1952, the Reconstruction Finance Corporation provided a $57,185,000 (later increased to $67,685,000) loan to develop White Pine. Construction of the mine, mill, smelter, and townsite lasted from 1952 to 1955, and White Pine became the primary operation of the Copper Range Company. Shortly after the formal opening of White Pine in 1955, President LaCroix died. John P. Lally, the longtime head of the C. G. Hussey & Company Division, succeeded him. When Lally retired in 1959, Nelson J. Darling, Jr. (LaCroix's son-in-law) took over as CEO and Acting President. Under Darling's leadership, the Copper Range Company recruited James Boyd as its new president in 1960. Boyd moved the head office from Boston to New York in November 1961. He also introduced scientific management concepts and pursued an aggressive program of exploration, coupled with research and development efforts.
After extensive exploration and study for possible alternatives, the Copper Range Company finally closed the Champion Mine and Champion Mill in 1967.
Along with Calumet & Hecla's shutdown two years later, this ended over a century of copper mining in Houghton County.
In 1970, Chester O. Ensign, Jr. became President. He led the Copper Range Company until it merged with the Louisiana Land & Exploration Company (LL&E) in May 1977. This marked the end of the independent existence of the Copper Range Company, which became a subsidiary of LL&E. The White Pine Mine would continue to operate under several different owners until 1995.

Source: The Copper Range Records MS

The Atlantic Mine 1872-1906
Opening in 1872, The South Pewabic (1864-1870) and Adams Mining Companies (1866-1870) came together and brought what we know now as the Atlantic Mining Company. Rested on the Copper Range Railroad, 3 & ½ miles south of Houghton, the underground copper mine worked on the Amygdaloid Basalt Lode. It consisted of six shafts, lettered A through F, the deepest being 3,000 feet on the incline. (Receiving three shafts from Pewabic, one shaft from Adams) The Atlantic Mine had done the impossible, creating a profitable enterprise out of a copper-poor lode and growing a thriving community in the process. However, it was not to last. Operations were steady until 1904 when cave-ins became a problem, causing dangerous "air blasts" underground and small ground tremors on the surface. By 1905, the shafts had "drawn-in" so much that skips could not operate without scraping the hanging wall a short distance in. When the subsidence finally ended in 1906, the shafts were so narrow that the mine was abandoned. It is estimated that around 6 million tons of ore remain in the mine. The Atlantic Mine produced approximately 121 million lbs. of refined copper, but paid out less than $1 Million in dividends. Very little of the piles remain from mining operations. The mine operated for 34 years, which coincidentally is also the estimated number of total fatalities. (This information is subject to change during research)

The Atlantic Fatalities-

The Baltic Mine 1897-1931
Beginning its life in 1897, spending two decades as an independent mine before being absorbed by Copper Range in 1917. The first shaft, sunk along the Baltic Lode was sunk at the wrong angle, and quickly passed through the lode and into trap rock. It turned out that the Baltic was the steepest lode in the Keweenaw, sloping into the earth at an angle which was nearly vertical, 73º in fact. Three new shafts were quickly sunk to the north, these being the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 shafts. It wasn’t until 1906 that the mine’s southernmost shaft was started to tap the riches missed by the abandoned No. 1, a shaft known today as the No. 2. This single shaft would go on to furnish half of Baltic’s total production. The Baltic Mine produced 276 million lbs. of refined copper over a 34-year period. An estimated total of 59 fatalities occurred at the Baltic Mine.

The Baltic Fatalities-

The Champion mine 1899-1967
The Champion Mining Company was organized in 1899 and came under control of the Copper Range Consolidated Company in 1901. It consisted of four shafts in the town of Painesdale. (South of Houghton, Michigan.) By the 1930's the mine was working the 48th level in No.4 shaft - 4,800 feet from the surface on the incline. Later, this shaft was extended to the 56th level, at 5,500 feet from the surface on the incline. In 1945, the mine closed to remove equipment from below the 48th level to abandon that section of the mine. In 1948, the mine reopened with work on the 18th level of shaft No.4. In 1954, No.3 was reopened on the 18th and 12th levels. The mine closed permanently in 1967. The Champion Mine is responsible for an estimated 116 deaths throughout its years of operation.

Fatalities of the Champion mine-

The Tri-Mountain mine 1899-1930
The intervening land between the Baltic and the Champion belonged to the Trimountain Mining Company. An underground copper mine consisting of four shafts (Numbered 1-4). The Trimountain Mining Company was organized in 1899 and worked the Baltic Lode. The mine buildings near shafts 2 and 3 include machine and carpenter shops, smithy and warehouse. 35- drill Rand air compressor at No. 2 with a Deane condensing plant in a separate building. The power plant at No. 3 includes a battery of Stirling water-tube boilers and a 4,500' Nordberg air compressor. The mine has electric pumps and work about 60 drills. The property is served by the main line of the Copper Range railway, which reaches all the shafts and principal shops. Mine has underground electric haulage on several of the levels. Of the $2,500,000 capital stock, $1,900,000 was paid in. The first stamping was done in January 4, 1902 with a leased head from the Arcadian Mill. The Trimountain Mill was located at Beacon Hill, 2 miles west of Redridge, but destroyed by fire. Thereafter, ore was treated at the Baltic mill, at Redridge. Shafts at this mine were some of the steepest in the Keweenaw at 70 degrees from horizontal to follow the ore bodies. The mine operated under Trimountain until 1923, when the company was dissolved. Copper Range Consolidated Company took over operations in 1925 and operated the mine until 1930, when it was closed permanently. The Trimountain Mine produced approximately 144 million pounds of refined copper. The Trimountain mine is responsible for an estimated 45 deaths. source:

The Tri-Mountain Fatalities-